Summary: Sermon 3 in a study in Colossians
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
In our previous lesson we took notice that in his opening words to them Paul did more than just send his greetings and commend them for their faith in Christ and love for the saints and rejoice over the fact that they had grasped the hope of Heaven. We saw that in all of that his wording was such that he was reminding them once more that their redemption and their preservation were the work of God through the good news which had been preached to them.
And you may remember we noted that if they were thinking as they heard his words they might have realized that they needed to stop listening to the false teachers who had come in with Moses and their vain philosophies, and just get back to the basics.
We did that as we were looking at those early verses of this chapter, and I will repeat here that we need to do that often; clear our minds of the superfluous worldly tripe that creeps in and seeks to confuse us and bog us down and get us focused on the things that are passing away, and reacquaint ourselves with the basics.
We were entirely without God and without hope in the world, spiritually dead and morally depraved, and God sent His Son in the weakness of flesh to hang on the cross and bear the penalty for all our sin in His body and He carried our guilt away forever.
Because He did that the Bible tells us that all who turn from sin and self and believe in Him and His atoning work will never come into judgment, but have passed out of death and into life.
Those are the basics that we need to know and stand on and we must reject all who would seek to change or add to or take away from those basics.
The fruit evident in the lives of the Colossians and indeed, all who become Christ-followers, is all brought forth by God’s presence in the life and it was there before the false teachers came in. Faith in Christ, love for the brethren, the hope of heaven, joyfully clung to.
As we move on to the verses of today’s text we continue in this theme of fruit-bearing, and that of necessity since the Apostle continues in it.
As we go however, we’ll find a transition from the gospel fruit manifest in the life of the believer to fruit which is also a direct outcropping of the gospel, but of the type that is manifest in the good works done by the believer.
Let’s slow down and walk through these verses.
Paul says ‘For this reason”, and there is no great mystery here; he is referring to the encouraging news that has come to him through Epaphras of all those things we talked about in our previous session and in the opening statements of this sermon.
The heart of Christ’s Apostle is Christ’s own heart, and also the heart of every true minister and preacher of the Word sent by Him. If a preacher of the gospel does not rejoice in his heart at the news of gospel fruit being borne in people’s lives then he needs to take stock. He is either not called to the ministry he is trying in some empty-shell way to perform, or he has lost his fire and ought to turn to God in fervent prayer for renewal.
For this is the heart of the Holy Spirit of God that even his angels have been privileged to share, as we know that “…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” Luke 15:10, that is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and salvation.
And of course we know it is this same Spirit of Christ who when He brings someone to life through the preaching of the gospel brings forth this very fruit we have been discussing as evidence of that inward work and so that there might be rejoicing all around.
So Paul and Timothy, since Paul says ‘we’, have prayed continually for these Colossian believers since they heard this great news. Now this is important and it has clear implications for us as Christ-followers.